Client: University of Manchester // Alliance Manchester Business School

Director: Barney Ibottson

We were invited in by the University of Manchester to talk to the Alliance Manchester Business School about making a film around a poem they commissioned to mark their 50th anniversary. The University had already produced a beautiful live-action piece with Lemn Sissay so it was important for us to find another approach.

We relished the challenge of coming up with something about Manchester, that Mancunians themselves would champion, share and shout about. Because the scope of poem was so broad, the brief naturally leaned towards an animated approach. In order to give the piece an authentic Mancunian feel, we approached a Manchester illustrator (Barney Ibbotson) to come up with original illustrative assets for the visual element of the film.

We wanted to explore Manchester’s ability to constantly transform itself within the visuals of the film. We worked closely with the poet (Longfella) and AMBS’ Head of Marketing and Communications to deeply pull out the meaning of each line of the poem. We used our understanding of the meaning and flow of the poem to create a coherent visual story where each scene merged artfully into the next.

The film was launched at a University event and then released online to coincide with a larger communication campaign. It received a lot of profile locally and was something that a number of Mancunian influencers talked about in a very positive way.

AMBS are delighted with the film and use it extensively across their channels. Illustrated assets from the animation have been used on everything from building hoardings and prospectuses to banner ads and Christmas cards. We’ve since been commissioned to do a series of follow up animations to promote a number of Undergraduate programmes. The illustrative treatment we developed for the animation has subsequently become a key element of the AMBS brand identity.